As I write on the 27th, snow is falling heavily in enormous soggy clumps. The outside temperature was 0.5 degrees Celsius at 9am on a still morning. It makes a change from the constant rain and winds that have battered our island for most of the month. We had storm Ciara on the 9th, and Dennis arriving around the 14th disrupting transport, especially in the air. However, air travel in the apiary continued at every possible opportunity this month with pollen and water collections continuing. Only yesterday, some bees were flying at temperatures, in the shade, just above 4 degrees C. The water dishes were frozen but they were stocking up from melted ice on the lawn.
A flock of greylag geese, Anser anser, settled in a field near my house a couple of days ago taking advantage of the short green grass and a flooded area making the perfect pond. I hear their muffled conversations through the snow shower.
Ulster Beekeepers Association Conference.
Jackie Elliott and I met up for one of the best conferences in a while on 14th February at Greenmount. Luckily our flights from Glasgow and Inverness respectively were not too badly affected by impending storm Dennis. However, turbulence disrupted the noisy hen party taking place around me and I very nearly got showered in Prosecco when we hit a “bump”. The passing flight attendant was less fortunate and got a glass-full, hitting her smack in the face. she was very jolly and took it all on the chin!
Jackie’s going to write up a guest blog about the conference, and later I’ll add some things that resonated with me, and the management changes I’m making from what I’ve learned. One thing to say now is that the conference was very well organised, and the speakers world class and mostly all experienced beekeepers. The small organising team was led by veterans John and Susie Hill who have been doing this for more than 9 years and the experience shows. Over 500 delegates attended with many staying in the Greenmount Agricultural College accommodation. Lectures were organised so that a couple of presentations were going on at the same time. Delegates were spread around separate lecture theatres and there was never a feeling of being overcrowded.
Because Jackie and I were a couple of the last people staying in the college on the final night, we were invited to join a group dining on the banks of Lough Neagh (in a very classy new fish restaurant : www.boathouseantrim.co.uk ). Thanks to Alan Riach we were transported there and back safely with Jackie’s navigating assistance. Thank you, Ulster Beekeepers Association: https://www.ubka.org/
Beekeeping Around Cork.
Going south for a week to Cork after the conference was fun, and I’ve got lots to tell you about that. However, it’s been all go since my return home, and a last minute rush down to London on family matters scuppered plans to get this blog out before the end of the month, so, more to come soon.